Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The Forward has a solid piece up about the proposed new Mosque that will be built several blocks from Ground Zero in NYC. Unfortunately, while the local Jewish community seems to be primarily supportive, there was this rather misguided quote by a local rabbinical leader:
“The families of the victims of 9/11 don’t have to make distinctions about who in the Muslim community they’re dealing with,” said Rabbi Michael Paley, scholar-in-residence at UJA-Federation of New York. “And so I’m openhearted.

Um, actually, yes, they do. It is important to respect the victims of terrible tragedies, such as 9/11. But I'm not sure why victim status gives license to not "make distinctions" amongst members of the social group which perpetrated the harm. If I'm attacked by a group of Latinos, even a "Latino group" like the Latin Kings, that doesn't mean I get to make stereotypes of all Latinos. And if I do, even if you feel sympathy for me, it's not the sort of judgment that should get any sort of legal imprimatur.

The Rabbi does go on to say that the leaders of this new Mosque have been important players in interfaith dialogue and partners for building community understanding. That's great news -- and all the more reason why we need to reject folks who groundlessly group them in with radical Muslim extremists.

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